Fire Chief, NFPA offer fire safety tips to students and parents

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — The Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association want to provide “important and often overlooked tips” to educate people about living in a fire-safe environment through their fire safety campaign.

NFPA fire safety fliers were passed out recently because Fire Chief Jeffrey Carley said that during the months of August and September, many college students are going to be moving away from home for the first time and do not know the proper fire safety procedures.

He said that while the fliers were targeted at college students, these tips should be considered by all people and not just those in a campus setting.

According to the NFPA, smoke alarms are an essential part of any fire escape plan and should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

“Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan,” the NFPA said. “When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning, so you can get outside fast.”

They should be installed away from the kitchen area to prevent false alarms, but should be no more than 10 feet away from a cooking appliance. A smoke alarm should be tested every month and should not be disabled for any reason. Batteries should not be removed, except to immediately replace them with new batteries.

Every sleeping room and living area should have a smoke alarm installed. For the best protection, the NFPA said, the alarms should be interconnected, so they would sound at the same time.

The NFPA also provided statistics about fires. These stats include the more common time frames for a fire — between 5 and 11 p.m. and on weekends — that cooking equipment is the cause of about 75 percent of fires, and most fires begin in the kitchen or in an area where cooking takes place.

Other facts provided included that two in three house fire deaths happen in houses with no smoke alarms or where the smoke alarms did not work. The NFPA said working smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a reported home fire.

Causes for fires, reported by the NFPA, included smoking and improperly burning candles inside, because both activities involve open flames and the potential to ignite linens and clothing. Smoking should be done in permitted areas outside of the building, while the NFPA recommends a sturdy, deep, and stable ash tray be used to contain the cigarette butts.

The NFPA recommends that cooking and smoking should be done while alert, and not in combination with drinking or while sleepy or drowsy from medicine. Smokers are advised never to smoke in bed, while cooks should keep any activity contained to the kitchen area. College students are specifically advised to check with the school’s rules concerning electrical appliances, such as toasters, deep fryers, or hot plates.

Students should become familiar with the building’s evacuation plan and treat all fire drills like the real thing. It was recommended that everyone should have two ways out of every room as part of their fire escape plans. The NFPA said that when a smoke or fire alarm sounds, everyone needs to get out of the building quickly and stay out.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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